s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics

Started Oct 28, 2011 | Discussions
PaulRivers
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s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
Oct 28, 2011

Well - I had intended to post several direct comparison pics between the s95 and the s100. Unfortunately, as detailed in another thread, doing some test pics it became clear my s95 had developed some problems. Fortunately, I was able to borrow a friends s95 (a totally different camera than mine which had the issues). Unfortunately, I only got one really good direct comparison pic and I had to return my camera to my friend so that's kind of that.

For purposes of a direct comparison I created a custom white balance and applied it to all the raw files before converting them, to try to avoid one or the other looking better just because of the white balance chosen by the camera.

The s100, by default, uses very strong noise reduction. In fact as seen in some of the pics others have posted, it usually eliminates noise completely. It creates a very clean looking photo - it avoids making the picture look "soft" like some methods do, but instead can create a..."plasticy" look. It's more noticeable with people, it sometimes makes people look like to glossed over. Actually I showed one of my female friends some pics of another girl where she's a little glossed over and my friend was like "that looks great!" so...I dunno.

I was really not very happy about this at first. But then I discovered something - you can just turn luminance (detail) noise reduction to 0 in dpp and the s100 - and the results are still great. Chrominance (color) noise reduction works really well with the s100 for some reason, with luminance noise reduction at 0 and chrominance at the default in my opinion it's really impressive.

For this reason I've posted 2 versions of each pic - one with the defaults in dpp, the other with luminance noise reduction set to 0 (this technique doesn't work nearly as well with the s95, but I did it anyways just to be fair).

s100 - iso800 - defaults

s95 - iso800 - no luminance noise reduction

s100 iso800 - defaults

s100 iso800 - no luminance noise reduction

s95 iso1600 - defaults

s95 iso1600 - no luminance noise reduction

s100 iso1600 - defaults

s100 iso1600 - no luminance noise reduction

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Here's a few comparison crops highlighting a few thoughts I had on the comparison - be sure to click on the pic twice to make it full size :

Here I think the s100 pic manages to be both a little more detailed - and a little more noisy vs the s95. This seems to be true throughout all of the fine detail areas of the photo - the s100 pic is a little less noisy and also a little more detailed -

The s100 lens also seems to have less..."weirdness" with lights, notice how the light bleeds over more in the s95 shot -

In this one you can still make out the grill on the car in the s100 pic, as well as something on the license plate, but - is it that the s100 did a better job, or just that the camera was somehow a millimeter closer or something? Or maybe the s100 has sharper edges than the s95.

I was going to do more crops, but frankly...I'm a little tired of working on this stuff, lol. I have the "View Original" link on so you can download them full size.

I think the s100 does a better job of reducing color noise than the s95, but it doesn't show up in these photos.

PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011

Here's the best of the other photos I took side by side. Unfortunately several things went wrong and I didn't have a chance to reshoot before I needed to give the camera back -

Somehow the s100 ended up back at at 24mm.

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And the lighting - that red cast? Yeah, that's because the lights were actually colored. So...it's accurate...not the best for comparison though...

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And all of these pics were taken at 1/60 iso1600 f2.0 - I think they're all underexposed by 1-2 stops -

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PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011

Here's another picture that didn't quite work - in the s95 pic, the camera seems to have focused past her face, the reason her face is slightly blurry is because it's out of focus -

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Anton Marcu
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011

great stuff, question about the last set, the face and glasses frames seem soft while the pipes on the wall right behind her seem sharper, as is the painting in the room behind, whats going on here? where is the focus point

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DesertLefty
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011

Wow! Great real-world comparison. Thanks for putting in all the work on this.

For the JPEG shooter, the S100 would seem to be the clear winner.

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rodgersmc
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to DesertLefty, Oct 28, 2011

These are useful/helpful. They seem to confirm what we're seeing - the s100 is better at low light.

I'd like to see some landscape shots at the golden hour between the same cameras though...

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ijustloveshooting
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more details on s95 but more noise,it's all about
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011

noise reductions....i can't see IQ improvement in high iso aspect...

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technic
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011

PaulRivers wrote:

And all of these pics were taken at 1/60 iso1600 f2.0 - I think they're all underexposed by 1-2 stops -

thanks, interesting comparison especially the last three. Underexposure is a fact of life sometimes, so it is good to see what happens in this case

I definitely prefer the 0% luminance NR version for S100, I hate 'plasticky looks' (but maybe that's because I started taking pictures long ago in the film grain era ...). For my infrared pictures I even add noise sometimes, because it looks more 'real' to me.

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technic
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to rodgersmc, Oct 28, 2011

rodgersmc wrote:

These are useful/helpful. They seem to confirm what we're seeing - the s100 is better at low light.

I'd like to see some landscape shots at the golden hour between the same cameras though...

agree about both

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technic
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improvement
In reply to ijustloveshooting, Oct 28, 2011

ijustloveshooting wrote:

noise reductions....i can't see IQ improvement in high iso aspect...

let's be realistic, there is not much room for improvement of the sensor itself when it stays the same size. I don't think hardware for this type of sensors has improved significantly over the last five years or so.

Most of the IQ improvements come from in-camera processing (DIGIC etc.). That's why the most obvious improvement is in High ISO jpeg output, and not in low ISO or RAW output. In-camera processing is far more advanced compared to 5-10 years ago, but at this stage it is more a matter of taste than objective quality improvements (e.g. the balance between noise and 'plasticky looks').

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gail
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S100 - ISO 640 shot
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011

Good work. Thanks, Paul, for all the time and effort.

PaulRivers wrote:

The s100.....can create a..."plasticy" look. It's more noticeable with people, i

Actually I showed one of my female friends some pics of another girl where she's a little glossed over and my friend was like "that looks great!" so...

As will most people outside these forums (and some forum participants like me), who don't scrutinize images at 100% but judge them after they are reduced in size and, possibly, edited.

From an every day user standpoint, I do think the S100 has minor improvements at high ISO over it's predecessors but, imho, not quite up to the level one would have expected reading the Canon press release and info at their site. Taking image quality alone, imho, all three S cameras do very well considering their small sensor.

I haven't taken any inside people pix yet, only a few general inside shots such as this one taken in low, very mixed and flickering lighting (shot JPEG, ISO 640, minimal editing but no noise reduction). I'm happy!

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cadet stimpy
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Re: S100 - ISO 640 shot
In reply to gail, Oct 28, 2011

The s100 looks like a big improvement to me - I have an s95 and find the night pictures quite noisy - I think Canon has delivered on there promises in this department

Thanks for the the pics - I've tried to do some camera comparison shots and realise how much work it is - thanks!

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gail
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Re: S100 - ISO 640 shot
In reply to cadet stimpy, Oct 28, 2011

cadet stimpy wrote:

The s100 looks like a big improvement to me - I have an s95 and find the night pictures quite noisy -

Do you mean outside night pictures, or inside photos taken at night?

Lighting can make a huge difference in the amount of noise that is present in images.

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wakeskier
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011

Thank you for the detailed comparison, i know that's a lot of work

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Don_D
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Thanks Paul, for your informative tests...n/t
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011
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Jared Huntr
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S100 has a greenish-yellow tint
In reply to Don_D, Oct 28, 2011

Not liking how the high ISO S100 shots take on a greenish-yellow cast. S95 has better color. IMO, too much obsessive talk about noise and not enough on color - off color is much more intrusive than noise.

I'm surprised no one noticed this. Are we missing the forest for the trees!?

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PaulRivers
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Re: S100 has a greenish-yellow tint
In reply to Jared Huntr, Oct 28, 2011

Jared Huntr wrote:

I'm surprised no one noticed this. Are we missing the forest for the trees!?

lol, is there honey in the pot? Have the 3 bears hit hwy 66 yet?

Not liking how the high ISO S100 shots take on a greenish-yellow cast. S95 has better color. IMO, too much obsessive talk about noise and not enough on color - off color is much more intrusive than noise.

1 - I noted this in my original post -

For purposes of a direct comparison I created a custom white balance and applied it to all the raw files before converting them, to try to avoid one or the other looking better just because of the white balance chosen by the camera.

This applies to all the pics of the guy, I believe my second set of pics was the native white balance (though the actual lights were colored so that's not great either).

2 - I figured out why no one knows what you're talking about.

There's no greenish cast when I uploaded the pics of the guy.

On my main work monitor there is no greenish cast in the pics of the guy either.

I moved the pics over to my secondary work monitor, which I believe is e-ips or something like that (some test a while back suggested that's what it is). Then I can see a strong greenish cast in the skin colors.

Are you looking at the pics on an ips monitor perhaps?

But like I said - because I custom made the white balance it's not indicative of what colors the camera itself produces.

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PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to Anton Marcu, Oct 28, 2011

Anton Marcu wrote:

great stuff, question about the last set, the face and glasses frames seem soft while the pipes on the wall right behind her seem sharper, as is the painting in the room behind, whats going on here? where is the focus point

...please see my comment on those pics.

PaulRivers wrote:

Here's another picture that didn't quite work - in the s95 pic, the camera seems to have focused past her face, the reason her face is slightly blurry is because it's out of focus -

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PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to technic, Oct 28, 2011

Don_D, wakeskier, cadet stimpy, gail, rodgersmc, DesertLefty - thanks for writing back, nice to know someone is actually reading the thread.

Sometimes when a comparison is done well (not that this one was great) people read it but no one responds and it's kind of depressing, lol. Nice to know it's being read.

technic wrote:

rodgersmc wrote:

These are useful/helpful. They seem to confirm what we're seeing - the s100 is better at low light.

lol, you know, the series of disparate (different) comments in this thread is exactly how I feel about it - one day I look at the s100 shots and think "yeah, the s100 shots are definitely better", the next day I look at them and think "you know, I'm not sure that there's any big difference with the s100 shots when detail noise reduction is turned off".

I'd like to see some landscape shots at the golden hour between the same cameras though...

agree about both

I took a bunch of outdoor shots comparing the s95 and s100 which I will be posting in a new thread. That is also a surprising p.i.t.a., lol - it kept being partly cloudy here, so in the 15 seconds between shots the lighting can change quite noticeably. Couldn't get a sunny day with no clouds. And then you're trying to take pics with detail in them like foliage, grass...problem is that when there's a wind the stuff moves around so comparing is...well you get the idea, finding a clear sunny day with no wind didn't happen while I had both cameras. I do think I got some good comparison shots though (pine trees don't move as much in a slightly wind), will be posting them soonish.

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: s95 vs s100 - low light w/people comparison pics
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 28, 2011

Thanks for the test shots, Paul. I had intended to do the same, but like you, there always seemed to be some little thing that screwed up the shots. However, I saw enough to know the S100 was at least as good as the S95 in the same shooting conditions, but with more range on both ends, so I returned the S95 yesterday.

I will do some more tests relative to the Oly XZ-1 and Samsung TL500 and Panasonic GH2. In low light, at portrait focal lengths, the XZ-1 has the edge. When a fast m43 zoom lens comes out (rumored to be next year), the GH2 will clean up.

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